“20 Years of Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir,” a special, two-hour anniversary retrospective program hosted by Broadway legend and Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, will debut at 8 p.m. ET tonight on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS video app. On Thursday at 9 p.m. ET, it will debut on BYUtv, BYUtv.org and the free BYUtv app.
Performances by over 40 guest artists and narrators who have starred in this traditional Christmas concert over the past 20 years will be featured in the retrospective program. These artists and narrators include Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Angela Lansbury, Kelli O’Hara, Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes; R&B singer Gladys Knight; the late jazz singer Natalie Cole; pop singer David Archuleta; newscasters Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw; historian David McCullough; the Muppets from “Sesame Street”; actors Jane Seymour, Hugh Bonneville, Richard Thomas, the late Ed Herrmann, John Rhys-Davies, Roma Downey, the late Peter Graves, Claire Bloom, Michael York and Martin Jarvis; and opera stars Renée Fleming, Deborah Voigt, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, Nathan Gunn, Alfie Boe, Sissel and Rolando Villazón. Collectively, the featured guests have won 34 Grammy Awards, 19 Tony Awards, 14 Emmy Awards, 10 Golden Globe Awards, three BAFTA Awards, one Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Olivier Award.
This special, two-hour “20 Years of Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir” retrospective replaces the traditional TV special that would have been created from a live Christmas concert in 2020; this had to be cancelled because of COVID restrictions. In new segments filmed in November 2020 that followed COVID protocols, Mitchell joined a handful of socially-distanced orchestra members and the choir’s musical director, Mack Wilberg, in an empty, 21,000 seat Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City to record Christmas classics. The choir also joined Mitchell and the orchestra in its first-ever, all-virtual performance.
Beside the airings on PBS and BYUtv, ”20 Years of Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir” can be purchased as a DVD. A companion book, “Keepsake Christmas Stories: Holiday Favorites as Performed with The Tabernacle Choir,” features narrations and color photographs from many of the Christmas concerts. “Christmas Best,” an audio recording of select Christmas music by the choir and orchestra, also is available to stream, download or purchase at SmartURL.it/ChristmasBest2021.
“20 Years of Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir” is co-presented by GBH, the largest creator of PBS TV and online content, and BYUtv, the television home of the choir’s weekly program, “Music & the Spoken Word.” BYUtv produced the special.